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Marine from Tacoma killed in Afghanistan

TACOMA, Wash. - A Tacoma family mourns a marine who was killed in Afghanistan.


04:30 PM PDT on Monday, June 16, 2008

Twenty-year-old Sgt. Michael Washington died over the weekend.

"He had the world at his feet. I mean, he could have done anything, any direction that he wanted to go," said his dad, aslo Michael Washington.

Even as a young boy, Sgt. Michael T. Washington had an infectious smile and an ingrained sense of responsibility.

"We wanted to raise good citizens. We wanted to raise people that anybody would want to have as a neighbor or a friend. You know, that's one of the guiding principles and he certainly was that," said Washington.

"Little Michael," as he was known, grew up enjoying soccer. His father, "Big Michael," describes his son as compassionate and easygoing.

Michael attended Tacoma schools from kindergarten on up, and graduated from Stadium High School in 2005. Even though he was just 17 years old at the time, he had already decided he wanted to join the Marines and he received his parents' blessings.

"You know he said Dad, you know, I just want to help people who can't help themselves. You know, there's people that need to be protected and being in the infantry, I'll be there," said Washington Sr.

Michael had some big footsteps to follow. His father fought in desert storm as a marine, his grandfather was a marine in the Korean War.

He'd already served one tour in Iraq, earning this commendation, and was returning from a mission in Afganistan when a roadside bomb hit his Humvee, killing four of the marines inside.

His father is acutely aware that nothing will bring back his only son, but he says there's something you can do to help ease the pain, the next time Memorial Day comes around.

"Everybody who's seeing this message right now, if you didn't have anybody that you can think about for a minute, now you do. Sgt. Michael T. Washington, Second Battalion 7th Marine Regiment, United States Marine Corps. And just take a minute and say thanks for what you did," he said.